This month’s Success Story is a Budgeting For The Win interview from Ondria and Jason, and how improper budgeting can affect a marriage. Ondria blogs over at Pennies and Plans. I (Kim) met Ondria on Instagram. I had liked a couple of her posts and she had liked a couple of mines. What really sparked our conversation one day is when I shared a blog post written by Omar. The caption for the IG post posed the question about whether it’s possible that budgeting can help you love your spouse more. It went on to say that not only is it possible, but we planned to share 3 ways that it helps you to do so.
Ondria said that she was very interested in reading it, and I told her to let me know her thoughts about it when she got a chance. Once she finished reading the post she shared how much she enjoyed it and even shared it with her husband. She told me how it really hit home for them because a few years ago they almost divorced because of finances.
As I continued to read her story I knew that I had to ask her to do an interview with us. It was confirmed once I shared her story with Omar. So without giving away too much in the introduction to this interview, let’s go ahead and get to it!
How old are you?
Ondria: Jason and I are both 31-years-old. (I’m older!)
Are you married? Kids?
Ondria: Yes! We got married 10 years ago and we have two pretty awesome kids. Our daughter, Adrina (9), and our son, Jackson (10 months).
What do you do for a living?
Ondria: Jason is a Captain in the Army. I was a Lead Teller at Wells Fargo prior to being stationed here in Korea. Now I am back to being a stay-at-home mom.
What made you decide to start doing a budget?
Jason: We have always done a “budget”. Ondria has been handling our finances for years using some form of a budget. Problem was that we did not have a clear vision or plan. Now that I have reached a point in my military career where I am ready to move on, we have more motivation to make the budget right.
Now that you’re budgeting do you feel like you make more than you thought you made?
Ondria: We always felt like we made plenty of money and never knew where it went. Budgeting doesn’t necessarily make us feel richer in wealth, but richer in awareness.
Do you feel more restricted by the budget or do you feel more free?
Ondria: This is a yes and no. Jason feels more restricted in a sense because we have had to make big changes in the amount of money we spend on leisure. He went from having a $300 bi-weekly leisure allowance, to us having a $500 collective family allowance. As for me, I don’t feel as restricted. A lot is contributed to not leaving the house as often. I’m sure if I were to be out and about, it would sink in. We both do agree that we feel less trapped in debt though. We have an agreed upon savings stashed ($10k), and we know and can see our debt shrinking. So yes, freedom has graced us with its presence!
Now that you’re budgeting do you feel like you and your spouse are communicating in regards to finances?
Jason: Absolutely! Ondria prepares these elaborate spreadsheets and we go over it a couple times a month. It’s like learning a new language. They are that detailed. I guess that is why we must talk more about money. She says we both need to be able to pick up where the other left off. She was right.
Before, it was always in our best interest for Ondria to take control with me being deployed or gone frequently. I got so used to everything being handled by her, and maybe I would ask occasional questions. She swears I asked “21 questions,” but in all honesty, I couldn’t tell you a thing about the bills. There was a time I sat in a funk for about 2 months because she would give me the okay to transfer money to my leisure account and I saw nothing left afterward. I thought we were so tight we couldn’t save a dime. Then I found out that she made transfers out before giving me the okay. We saved over $3000 and I was clueless. Now I do feel much more involved and it’s because of the communication.
Ondria: I want to just add in that it has to be active communication! We can talk money all day, but each person has to be active. Actively listening. Actively engaging.
Not having a proper budget and the discipline to follow one almost ended our marriage. Our situation was so overwhelming and we lost enjoyment in everything, including our family. During the separation, we both learned some valuable things about money. Me, I learned the importance of saving and executing a budget. Jason learned it’s okay to spend and be rewarding, without going overboard.
Jason and I now have a plan that plays to each other’s strengths. I am great at making budget plans, debt payoff plans, etc. I love finding solutions, but I absolutely suck at execution and discipline. For example, I can easier be persuaded to buy a box of donuts just because I have extra money. Jason is very disciplined! He loves saving. So, he has taught me how to be more accountable. With that being said, I wouldn’t have become better if I didn’t practice better communication. I had to be more open and honest. Actively initiating is important. For example, telling him I have made those savings transfers would have been important.
What advice would you give to someone who isn’t doing a budget, but is thinking about it?
DO IT! IT’S SO WORTH IT!
Ondria: I think it’s important to have an endgame! Before making that commitment, everyone should have a good reason for doing it or they will just let it slip by the waist side. As for Jason, he feels it’s important to be honest with yourself. Starting a budget can be much like going cold turkey and quitting smoking. So, in this case, you have to know where you are at and create obtainable goals.
Our Thoughts: Thank you Ondria and Jason so much for sharing your story with us and with our readers. It’s very evident that improper budgeting can affect a marriage. Like you guys both stated, you must have active communication when it comes to budgeting and finances in a marriage. It’s important because both people need to be on the same page, but also because as Ondria and Jason stated – You need to be able to pick up where one left off, especially if the worst happens and one spouse is unable to do the budget or pay the bills.